Gingerbread Golem

Gingerbread Golem

Gingerbread Golem

To bring to life the dead space between fall Jewish holidays and winter Jewish holidays: The Gingerbread Golem.

A patty-cake version of the legendary creature that was shaped from clay by Rabbi Loew of Prague.  My Gingerbread Golem has been patted, pricked and marked—not with a “B”, but with the three Hebrew letters aleph, mem, and tav, which spell EMET (“truth”): the magic word written on the golem’s foreheard, bringing it to life.

To deactivate his creature, Rabbi Loew erased the aleph, leaving the two letters that spell MET (“dead”)…
…but I can think of a better way to get rid of the aleph on a Gingerbread Golem.

Good golem story for kids: Golem, by David Wisniewski  (a Caldecott-winning picture book).

I searched for “Gingerbread Golem” precedents and came up with Dungeons & Dragons and Minecraft references, but no actual ironic cookie.  So I had to make one.

EDIT (3 days later…):
Heavens.  I didn’t think anyone (else) would actually want to MAKE these, so this post wasn’t a DIY,  but I just received a plaintive picture of a golem gone wrong.

So, I offer some tips:
First, my post photo is pre-oven.  And second, results will vary.

DOUGH: Pick a recipe known for not puffing up, and for being hard-wearing. Clues in the description will be: cannot be over-worked, indestructible for kids, etc. My favorite recipe is from Saint Martha.

Roll only 1/8 inch thick so there will be less dough to puff.  Puff = no detail.

The bigger the gingerbread man cutter, the easier to make and see the letters.

LETTERS: Make letter impressions as deep as you can manage, because these too will puff a bit. Use a toothpick.  Even a rubber stamp might need some deepening.

LETTER COLOR: Any color added pre-oven will probably not look the same post-oven, but do a few to test. For best results, add color to the impressions after the golem has cooled.
Food-safe markers are the easiest way to draw fine lines on smooth food, but careful people can use toothpicks dipped in dye.


7 responses to “Gingerbread Golem

  1. You are the Maharal of Jewish Crafting. (Do you have a fave gingerbread recipe? Or advice for writing “Emet”? Did you use a toothpick dipped in food coloring?)

    • Oh, Snarly, I was just about to tag you when I posted to fb. I remember your affection for the Golem! For the letters, I make impressions with rubber stamps, then fill in with food-safe marker. I don’t have an all-time fave gingerbread cookie recipe, but I’ve been using Patti Paige’s version I found in a book (a real book, right here in the kitchen) from Martha Stewart Living. EDIT: NO! Wait! Better Martha recipe is here.

  2. Brilliant! We love the Golem story and the book you mention above (David’s, not Martha’s). I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Brilliant! Our synagogue book club read a book about the Golem. Would have been great fun to bring these to the discussion. Will definitely share this idea with our Sunday school teachers. I can imagine that even a disengaged teen would love a discussion about the Golem, spurred by these cookies — especially with the EMET vs. MET distinction in a single letter.

    • Thank you, Ellen. And good idea about attracting bored youth with edible golems… Hey, was your book club pick The Golem and the Jinni, by chance? I really enjoyed that book.

  4. Pingback: Gingerbread Golem coloring page | Bible Belt Balabusta